Re: Work or Pay Systems
From: Sharon Villines (
Date: Tue, 22 Jul 2008 19:12:05 -0700 (PDT)
The best basis of play or pay systems is building a foundation of workdays.

Workdays are wonderful things. Many people are just not self-starters or feel that they are not capable of doing many tasks. This was the number one fear when we had this discussion before we moved in. What can I do? I don't have anything to contribute. I'm afraid I won't find anything I can do well, or that I like to do.

After move-in we found that many people were just so overwhelmed with their own lives that they didn't have the brain space for anything requiring initiative.

Workdays solved all these problems. We schedule ours every other month for a full day, alternating Saturdays and Sundays. Most people work about 6 hours, some longer. A break for a simple lunch at 12:30. I'm lobbying for one a month, for 4 hours. Coffee and bagels at 8:00 with a discussion of what is hoped to be done for the day. Work 4 hours and have lunch together, if it works. Go out or have pizza sent in.

We have an excellent list person who keeps ongoing lists of jobs that can be done on workdays. More and more we are moving repetitive tasks to workdays. They used to be only one-time or infrequent jobs -- clean the basement, fix the bannister, dig up that tree. But now we are moving things like sump pump checks, change the HVAC filters, clean the doormats, etc. -- things that individuals used to take responsibility for individually, and often forgot. Moving repetitive jobs to workdays means we have a standard list of things to get done, and we are sure they get done.

We have a job broker who sits at a table in the CH with the list maker's list. People look at the list and say, "I can do that," and they do. The job broker also puts people together when a job takes more than one person or someone needs to work with someone else who knows how to do something. "Go get Mark and he can help you. He knows this job."

One person goes shopping the day before workday to get supplies and another usually has to run out during the day for nails or weatherstripping or some such.

Tons gets done that would take people forever and many reminders if you just emailed them a list of jobs, expecting them to get it done on their own.

A full day of work every other month fulfills the work requirement.

Not everyone likes participating in workdays -- to the amazement of many, some people actually prefer to work on their own. They are generally self-starters who like to just get the work done without any talking about it -- or listening to all the chatter. Since there are many jobs to be done between workdays, this works out very well.

Sharon Villines
Takoma Village Cohousing,Washington DC

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